Not too long ago I was heading out to a nearby exercise class and it was dark outside and the Help offered to drive me to the class. No, I insisted I was going to walk*. It wasn't that far but I did say I it was fine to pick me up after the class because it concluded at a time I wasn't too keen on walking back alone. He pushed, insisting on driving me saying he didn't want me walking by myself at night.
I don't know if the following words actually left my mouth, but I know something similar did:
"Seriously? Seer-rhee-us-lee? I lived in this neighborhood for 10 friggin years. By myself without any man and I managed to not get shot, robbed or molested. I think I can manage walking during what is still rush hour quite fine by myself."
The Help responded with something that wouldn't mean much and would take too long to explain to strangers but communicated, 'I love you,' 'I care deeply about your safety and you,' 'I understand.'
The comment that I may or may not have uttered reminded me and made me appreciate the roughly10 years I lived unattached to any man, being a very independent woman. Within my first year of home ownership I broke up with my last boyfriend before my current spouse. There was one date in that time span to someone who became a lovely platonic friend.
During those ten years of living alone (not counting roommates), I had the opportunity to develop me, as an independent woman, not shaping myself to please any guy. I pursued my tom boy desires by amassing a decent collection of power tools and hand tools for home repairs. I didn't do the damsel in distress thing, because no Superman or Prince Charming was coming to rescue me, I would have to rescue myself. Having to depend on me, I developed a strength and resilience that I didn't have when I was younger. On my own I made big decisions regarding this home, my finances, my career without seeking anyone else's approval. I now appreciate what I was able to do then, because I now can't do that anymore, not since there is an US and WE have to make these decisions TOGETHER.
I don't know if it was age or being single or both, but I swear I got a lot more accomplished by myself. At the end of this year we'll celebrate our third anniversary and the Help is constantly in my thoughts, still. Before we were married that real estate in my brain and heart was dedicated to something more useful than goofy thoughts about an odd white guy. Before marriage, I attended more community meetings and was more involved in neighborhood efforts.
A few weeks ago we, along with about 670 other people attended a 100 year birthday celebration for Mabel Sawhill, who attends the Help's church. One of the themes touched on about Mabel's long life and energy was the gift of singleness. Because she had never been married she was able to serve so many people in her catering business and get a lot done on her own. She's very short, loving, very spunky and she catered the event. In an interview she claimed not to know the secret to her longevity but supposed not having a husband helped.
The Help approved of this posting, after some minor editing.
*I would have biked but I don't have a front light for the bike yet and I'm not comfortable riding without one.